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The fate of the Obama Presidential Library has been placed into the hands of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was nominated to the court by former President Donald Trump.
That’s because a conservation group has filed an emergency motion to stop the beginning of construction planned at a site of a Chicago park.
Local residents and an organization called Protect Our Parks have vehemently opposed the presidential library on the grounds that the edifice would obliterate historical and wildlife resources. They also claim that the federal government has not filed the appropriate environmental reviews for the project.
“Moreover, any removal of trees or destruction of roadways, vistas, and the landscape in Jackson Park will be irrevocable,” said a statement from Protect Our Parks in June.
Barrett is the justice assigned to the region and will determine whether the Supreme Court should take up the case. According to NBC News, a federal judge and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently declined to stop construction.
Residents near the proposed site at Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago also fear that the massive $700 million project will lead to gentrification and higher rents.
“When new developments come to underserved communities, usually it means displacement, disenfranchisement for the residents who are already living there,” said Devondrick Jeffers of STOP Chicago to WBBM-TV.
“You don’t have to be a scholar to realize they can tell you anything, that doesn’t mean they’ll do it. We need it in writing!” said Michele Williams, who lives across the street from the site. “I mean, do you really think they’re gonna keep us here?”
A tweet from Obama’s social media accounts in February appeared to obliquely refer to some of the objections.
“Our hope is that the center will breathe new life into historic Jackson Park while delivering jobs, growth, and much more to the South Side,” tweeted Obama. “Let’s get to work.”
In 2019, the same group accused the Barack Obama Foundation of violating laws against the private development of the land by switching from a public group to a private organization.